Project Description

What They Don’t Teach You In Deer River

Navy Memoirs of a Small Town Girl

I grew up in Deer River, MN – a one-stoplight town of 903 people. Two weeks after I graduated high school way back in the old days (1997) when everything was in black and white, I enlisted in the Navy in a combat aircrew position that had just been opened up to women. At first, we were mistaken for tiny hairless men. Quite a few people told me I was crazy and I would be back home before I knew it. Some of the old WWII veterans patted my shoulder, and nodded, wishing me luck. My dad, fearing my safety, begged me not to go. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into – which probably was best that way. I just knew I didn’t want to fail. 

Spoiler alert – I didn’t go off and become a war hero. I didn’t save the world. I didn’t win the Noble Peace Prize or even receive the perfect attendance award (I was runner-up); however, I did serve my country, met some lifelong friends, flew over 1300 hours in a war-fighting machine, kicked some submarine ass, and learned a few lessons (the hard way). This book is a compilation of short stories and those lessons learned. 

If you are looking for Steinbeck or Dickens, you probably should put this book back on the shelf and keep looking. However, if you are looking for random entertaining stories that begin with conjunctions, contain cheesy metaphors, and improper sentence structure- well this, my friend, may be the book for you. You may laugh. You may cry. You may want to dance on a barstool next time the opportunity arises. I’m not a writer, I’m a storyteller. And this is my story.

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Julia A. Maki
Julia A. MakiAuthor

Julia A. Maki grew up in Deer River, Minnesota and enlisted in the Navy as an Aviation Warfare Systems Operator aboard P-3Cs. After the Navy, Julia settled in Maryland with her husband where they both ended up working for the Department of Defense as civilians. They have three children together, which initially inspired her to write children’s books about the military.

Her first book, My Mom Hunts Submarines, was Julia’s way of telling her children about what she did while in the Navy with the underlying message, “You can do anything!” Her second book, All Hands on Deck! Dad’s Coming Home! was inspired by her sister’s job in the Navy aboard the USS Stennis. It is a book for children that have parents that are deployed in the military. Still My Dad was written for children with parents that are wounded veterans, but can be enjoyed by anyone facing a disability. From the Sky was inspired by the amazing things she saw while flying all over the world. Finally, her memoir, What They Don’t Teach You in Deer River, is a collection of funny stories and life lessons from her time as a young aircrewman in the Navy.

Julia is now in the DC Air National Guard. When she is not writing, raising a family, or working, she finds her passion in volunteering for organizations supporting veterans.